Defending the Disabled: Victimhood and Self Defense

300%

For every able bodied person who is victimized by violent crime, 3 disabled people are (adjusted for population equality).

It’s important for us to know what can be done to protect the weak, the innocent, and the defenseless. Police are not protective forces. I used to be a police officer. I took the motto of “to protect and serve” seriously, as did my blue brothers. But we learned early on that we couldn’t stop violence. Our presence reduced the likelihood of violence. We patrolled areas that were more likely to have violent crime with greater frequency than the area less likely to have it. We actively worked to take criminals off the streets. Each of these things fell into one of two categories of law enforcement: either preventive or reactive protection. 

What we didn’t do, at least not often, was active protection.

Whaaaaaaaat? But the motto is to “protect and serve! You must have been a bad cop!” (I’ve actually been told that when I’ve made this argument…)

The truth is that police can prevent crime by having increased presence and proactive policing policies. And police can punish criminals by having reactive enforcement, but in order to have active protection they need to actually be at the location of the crime while the crime is taking place: so either the cops are everywhere at once (a literal police state), the cops are participating in the crime (God forbid), or they happen to be in the right place at the right time (great when it happens, but not common).

You see, the police can’t stop all violent crime; they aren’t charged with that action; and their failure to stop crime is not something they are legally accountable for.

This is the long way of saying: the police can’t and usually won’t protect you from crime. Arguments against self defense using the police as the basis of the argument are fundamentally flawed and should be sumerily dismissed as such. If someone tries to say that the police will stop violence, I give you my permission to laugh in that someone’s face (though doing so may not be the kind thing to do…)

If we can’t rely on the police to protect us, can we rely on others? I’d challenge the answer is ‘no.’ So we establish that the defense of ourselves belongs to ourselves: thus we reasonably conclude that self defense is the only reasonable form of consistently reliable defense.

Having concluded the reasonableness of self defense, let’s approach the morality of it.

If I wander into a bear’s den, and am subsequently mauled to death, who is blamed? Me or the bear? Sad as they may be, even my family would say “he shouldn’t have gone into that bear’s den!” No reasonable person would conclude that the bear ‘murdered me,’ and most would not even apply any guilt the the bear: as the intruder, the guilt and fault lie with me.

With a simple example, we can see that self defense is not only natural, but also moral: he who defends himself is free of guilt. But as higher thinking creatures, we also have higher levels of responsibility. While a startled bear may reasonably attack the cause of alarm, we, with greater cognitive ability must apply that ability to the greatest possible extent: did the person who startled me in the grocery store the other day pose a real threat? Certainly not. But there are times when we must make decisions with reduced input and with short time: is the intruder in my house a dangerous threat to myself or my family? I probably don’t have time to gather more information, and am thus morally justified to behave naturally: to take defensive action.

We’ve shown that self defense is both reasonable and moral. Let’s discuss the implication of that reason and morality; this is the discussion that the American founding fathers preserved in the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. The right to have a gun is not a natural right, but rather, the right to self preservation and self defense is.

It is important to understand the natural right that is being preserved in order to understand why the founders worded the Amendment the way they did. The right to defend myself being natural, moral, and holy (established by God), I must have the tools to exercise that right.

I used to hold the opinion that if guns had never been invented, the world would be a better place. After all, guns are simply a more efficient method of killing, right? Certainly that’s true.

But there is also an old saying that “God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal.”

Why did the founders specify the right to bear arms? And what did they mean? Did they mean only muskets? Did they mean that it was a governmental or collective right? First, let’s address the latter. The bill of rights has many enumerated rights; each right is individual, and each limitation is on the collective. For this reason alone, we must conclude that the right to bear arms was intended to be individual, rather than collective. The mentioned militia was understood at the time to be nothing more than a collection of well armed individual citizens, and not an entity regulated by the government. 

As for the idea that muskets where the intended arms of the 2nd Amedment? Prior to the writing of the Bill of Rights, there existed fully automatic small arms, and (more importantly to the argument) congress knew about these weapons. In fact, congress attempted to purchase them for the revolutionary militia, but couldn’t raise the necessary funds. Only a few years later, one of these weapons traveled West with Lewis and Clark’s famed expedition. These facts alone should cause anyone attempting to make the left’s favorite “musket argument” be dragged into the street to be vindictively mocked and openly ridiculed. That argument ignores not only the intent of the Founders (to preserve the natural right to self defense) but also all of the facts. But it is also important to note that the founders expressly sited the 2nd Amendment as reason for private individuals to own cannons and other artillery; the founders intended that the phrase “shall not be infringed” be interpreted literally.

Bringing the discussion full circle: the only way for the weak, defenseless, and innocent to truly exercise the right to self defense is to be at least (and preferably better) armed as the one from whom they need to defend themselves. 

As a visibly disabled person, I’m %300 more likely than my able bodied peers to be violently attacked. And despite my not unsubstantial training, I am distinctively unable to use physical force to protect myself. That ability increases exponentially as a persons physical stature diminishes. It inteases exponentially as disability increases. And it increases dramatically with a change in gender. In other words, despite being of average height, having aches the roughly the size of a barrel, being trained in hand to hand combat, I’d be unable to defend myself against an even mildly invested attacker. And that’s why the disabled are so much more likely to be attacked. A small, wheelchair bound woman with muscular distrophy, for example, would be entirely defenseless. 

And so enters the importance of Sam Colt: even with basic training, because of a firearm, my ability to defend myself automatically at least matches the ability of my attacker to attack. In my case, despite a substantial tremor in my shooting hand, I’m still a better-than-average shot (the second best in my graduating class from the Academy with a handgun, the best with a tactical shotgun, and at least among the top with a rifle, if not the top, though we never officially competed there… tooting my own horn here…)  Sam Colt made me equal despite my physical inequality.

My previous belief that the world would be better off had guns never been invented couldn’t be farther from the truth: the biggest and strongest are no longer the only ones capable of violent force. 

And that’s ultimately the most reasonable and moral argument for firearms: without them, the weak and defenseless are stripped of our natural and God Given right to self defense. The more efficient the arms, the better our chances of surviving attack. 

To those of you who are frightened of firearms: please contact me. As a certified firearm instructor, I will either teach you myself or put you in contact with one, like me, who will teach you. One of the best ways to decrease fear of a thing (and in the casemof guns, to substantially decrease the likelihood of accidents) is to increase education.

To those of you who are disabled and looking for an equilizer against the world’s wolves: please consider becoming educated in the safe and effective use of these miraculous inventions, and then getting one. The invitation in the above paragraph stands to you as well, but despite my experience and skill, I’m not certified to teach handguns; however, I’d happily put you in contact with those who are.

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The Republican Party is Dead

I’d love to write condemning the narcisism and corruption in the liberal, authoritarian Democratic Party. I’d love to be so in sync with the ‘party of the right,’ and be able to stick with taking down the opposition. The problem is that the ‘party of the right,’well, isn’t. Those of us on the right, therefore must spend our energies pulling the mote out of our own eye, so to speak, and clean house.

When I began to disassociate myself for the Republican Party, it was for 1 simple reason: the Republican’s don’t live up to the values that they claim. This is more true at the federal level, and less true at the local and state levels. I know several state officials and politicians that live by the Republican creeds, and even less at the federal level.

But the recent years have begun to show me how wrong I was – in 2008, the Republican National Convention selected one of the least conservative Republican senators in Washington to run on their behalf for the Presidency of the United States. He was strong on security, a key point of Republican dogma, but cared little and less for the individual rights guaranteed by the constitution (collectivist is a good word to describe him). John McCain lost handily, in no small part that the Republicans selected a progressive Republican to run against a Progressive Democrat. Sadly, the two candidates agreed on many key points in the direction the country should go, and primary disagreements were about speed of travel. 

Failing to learn their lesson, the Republicans  selected yet another progressive republican in 2012 to represent them in the Presidential campaign. Worse than not significantly disagreeing on direction, Mitt Romney consistently repeated variations of the phrase “I agree with you,” while debating the incumbent president, a tactic tantamount to a ringing endorsement. I believe Romney to be an honest man, but his stances are not consistently conservative, and the constitution hardly plays into his accounting (except, to his credit, he considers it enough to figure out how to get around it).

As part of the Conservative Right; as part of the younger generation’s libertarian movement (a movement directly rebelling from our helicopter-parent’s authoritarian streak (not a royal “we” or “our” but speaking as a collective)); as a firm believer in the rule of law; as someone who wants and likes to win; I find myself with a difficult question: do I defeat those whom openly revile my values and beliefs (the Democratic Party), by embracing those whom claim my values but fail to uphold them when push comes to shove? I, like many on the right, chose to answer a resounding “no!”  

The grassroots conservative movements worked hard to throw out many of those in congress without a track record of defending our values (and more importantly, the values that they themselves claim).  Nearly 1/3 of our candidates took office in 2010, replacing many long time Republican officials at local, state, and federal levels. The cry was strong: “stop dictating or lives,” and “return to the Constitution!” In 2012 we had similar (though admittedly less voluminous results because of the presidential election). We did all of this despite claims of racism against us, and even with government  agencies literally using the might and power of the bureaucracy to attempt to shut us down by unjustly using the tax system as a weapon. These attacks were expected and understandable: we were shaking up the status quo. We were working to end the cronyism and corruption in Washington, and more importantly, we were being successful.

We’ve prayed, and fasted, and humbled ourselves before the Almoghtly God in effort to be worthy of the promises of Liberty granted by Him. Despite many of our numbers being aithiest, in true libertarian fashion, we didn’t revile each other for our differences in belief and practice. We pleaded to the Lord to send us another George Washington or Abraham Lincoln – someone devoted to righteous principles, holding firm to their values in the face of extreme opposition, and that unifies the country – not by compromising their values or principles, but by holding them dearly, and embracing the opposition in love.

I believe God answered our prayers in abundance. In this presidential election cycle, he gave us a half dozen strongly principled, constitutional conservatives (they varied on their libertarian credentials, but most of us libertarians would happily except a constitutional conservative, knowing that the constitution embraces libertarian ideals, even if the candidates don’t).

We stood on the roof of our house as the flood waters rose, praying to the Lord for deliverance, and He’s sent us a fleet of boats to rescue us in our time of need!

The problem with the Republicans, however, is that they’ve angrily spit in the eye of the boat drivers. The anger stems from the corruption and erosion of our rights in Washington DC. I get it. We’ve watched, not just for the last 8 years, but for at least a generation, as the morals, values, and principles of the American people are ignored, despisd, and actively eroded from the ruling elite. I, with many like me, have worked to change that devilry one person at a time. But we’ve seen those whom we sent to Washington to uphold our constitution be bought off by the highest bidder (in some cases almost immediately). It can lead to despair that the system is broken (it is) and can’t be fixed (can it?) and many on the right and many in the middle have given up trying.  

We’ve determined that there is no point getting in the rescue boats. We’ve concluded that there will be a flood wherever we go, and it’s by design of the people who are trying to rescue us. And worse, we’ve decided to sabotage the rafts.

The Republicans have decided to select Donald Trump.

Unlike 2008 and 2012, they haven’t picked a person who they know either doesn’t share their values or will compromise those values, just because they think that person can win. Instead, they’ve picked a person who doesn’t really even pay lip service to those values, but promises to “stick it to ’em,” and get those in Washington who have betrayed them. He’s made an effort to destroy anyone who he deems to be a personal enemy, and the Republicans like it. They’ve decided that there is no fixing Washington, and settled instead for revenge.

And worse: if Trump wins, they’ll get it. Like post WWI Germany, the Republicans are making their decisions out of disparity, fear, and anger. They’ve intentionally giving power to a strong man with no moral compass besides personal power. He’s telling and showing them what he  intends to do with that power, and if they believe him, they don’t care. He may not be trustworthy about his positions, as he has historically changed those positions often and easily, but his actions are consistent: ‘destroy those in my way, crush the opposition, and get whatever I want, irrespective of laws or even people.’

This has never ended well.

Sadly, the Democratic Party is selecting candidates that should be easier to defeat than any they have run in my lifetime, and maybe ever. The economy has crumbled under the current Democratic President; the DNC chairman, nor the Democratic Presidential front runner, can even declare the difference between a socialist and a Democrat. 

This should be the easiest presidential seat for the Republicans to win… Like… Ever…

But I think they will lose.

If I’m wrong, and they win, the new president will wield the full force of the federal government like a sword and destroy anyone on his ever growing enemies list. The country will fall apart, and I could easily see civil war in the streets. Our rights and constitution will exist in name only. 

And everyone will blame the Republicans (justly).

If I’m right, and Hillary wins, we’ll mostly have a continuation of the status quo, leading to more anger, resentment, feeling of betrayal, Washington grandstanding and gridlock, which will be, if history is to be trusted, blamed on the Republicans.

The Conservative right will take the blame in either event: if Trump wins, it will be the right’s fault that he is in power (and there is truth to that), and that he abuses that power. If he loses, the right wil be blamed for not “compromising,”and for trying to “shut down the government,” for trying to “play games with the republic.”

The problem is this: everyone of those accusation is true of the Republican elite, but I, for one, am tired of being blamed for the decisions, practices, and reprehensible games that I’ve worked hard to have my representatives put an end to. If the Republicans either flush our constitution and republic down the drain by electing a strong arm tyrant, or if they continue the status quo – selling their souls for personal power and gain, they are done. They are over.

Personally, I’m done voting for the wrong candidates just to “win.” I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump. Many say “then you’re throwing your vote away, and ensuring that the Democrats win!” Then so be it. I’ll be blamed regardless of the outcome – and neither candidate represents me. If I’m going to lose no matter what, why would I vote someone who doesn’t represent my values, principles, or the Constitution of the United States? If I can find a suitable 3rd party candidate, I’ll vote that way. If not, I’ll write someone else in, but I’m done supporting a party that doesn’t support me, just because they oppose the Democrats. 

If the Republicans spit in the ey of the rescue boat drivers, they deserve to drown in the flood.

If the Republicans select Dobald Trump to represent them as a Presidential candidate,  they deserve to lose (again), and more importantly, the party deserves to die. 

If the Republicans no longer stand for their platform values, principles, and most importantly, for the Constitution of the United Stares, they no longer have any worth to our country, and deserve to go the way of the Whigs.

I’m angry. I’m frustrated. In truth, I’m despairing a bit. But I am still thinking clearly, and if the GOP refuses this last reformation, I will permanently and completely devote myself to the creation of a new constitutional conservative party. 

The Republican Party is dead.

Thoughts on the ‎GOP Debate in New Hampshire:

Here’s a detailed rundown of my thoughts following the debate tonight. I’m going into some pretty significant detail, so there won’t be a question for where I stand.

Overall, the moderators had pretty decent questions, and for the first little while at least, were pretty fair. Martha Raddatz started interrupting and arguing with the candidates, even going so far as to deliberately (from my view) twisting Jeb’s words and malign his position (concerning the draft for women). I wish the moderators would learn to shut up and stop trying to participate in the debate and stick with moderating it. Still, I would say that this was one of the most substantive debate’s we’ve had, even beating out last week. It helps to have a shrunken stage.

I think that Ted Cruz was the strong winner, though almost everyone did very well, especially Jeb, Chris, and John.

Marco Rubio Lost, and I’ll go into the detail a bit, I think.

Donald J. Trump showed more humility tonight than he usually does, and was less whiny than normal (though he couldn’t help to complain in his closing remarks); still, he spoke primarily in platitudes and arrogant claims (I will win; I’ll do it; believe me; etc) without going into any significant substance. Despite usually putting Jeb in his place, I think he lost his major, typical exchange with Jeb; Trump looked petty (as usual), unreasonable, and uneducated on the issue, which is amusing considering that the issue was eminent domain, one of his most understood topics. (Side note, eminent domain is designed to use property taken from private citizens, giving them fair market value, for public use property, i.e. roads, power lines, canals, etc. – however, Trump is in favor of using eminent domain to take property from one individual in order to give it to another or to a business (his, usually), claiming that businesses are of more worth to the community than are individual property rights, and thus that eminent domain can legally be used in this manner. The case discussed involved an elderly woman who lived where Trump wanted to build a parking garage for his limousines, as it was close to one of his hotels; she refused to sell, and he attempted to use eminent domain to force her from her home. He, rightly, claimed that he didn’t take her home, but that was only because the courts sided with her. He has, however, successfully used eminent domain in other cases to build his own properties. This is clearly a violation of property rights as guaranteed by the founding documents.) Jeb argued, successfully, I think, that Trump’s use of eminent domain violated individual property rights, trump tried his usual tactics of silencing the opposition, hurling insults rather than contending facts, and while this has usually silenced or kowtowed jeb, it did not tonight, making trump look like a bully and a loser. It was fun to see him booed by the audience (to which he responded by attacking the audience, as is his typical response to anyone who would question him).

Trump remains one of the worst candidates to run for President in our long history, discounting the rule of law and the founding documents in order to further his own personal brand and increase his own pocket book. He continues to lie, cheat, and steal (the improper use of eminent domain) to get his way. many in the US view this as ‘winning,’ but to give a strong man power without regard to how he will accomplish his promised results is dangerous to the extreme. This is literally how Hitler gained power, as well as Castro, and any number of other mass-murdering psychopaths. Trump’s mass of zombie like followers is just as terrifying as he is. He has defended their violence (http://thinkprogress.org/…/donald-trump-black-lives-matter…/); he as tried to physically harm those who would protest against him (http://thehill.com/…/265172-trump-tells-security-to-confisc…); and has literally called for his followers to physically harm those who would disagree with him (http://www.express.co.uk/…/Donald-Trump-urges-fans-beat-the…). Historically, the same methods were used and supported by Hitler (the brown-coats) before he instituted marshal law and killed them all. Why do we ignore history in favor of this man? His actions show that he is quite evil, and I haven’t even begun to discuss the fact that his most ardent opponent on his positions is himself. He’s changed his mind more times than John Kerry. But even if his positions were consistent, conservative and constitutional, his actions would still make him ‪#‎NotThatGuy‬

John Kasich I’ve spent a lot of time making fun of the Fruit Ninja behavior, but I actually think that he might have tourettes (taking in the tick in his face as well), in which case, I actually feel bad for making fun of him. In the Iowa debate, for the first time, I felt like John was sincere. This take-away continued tonight. Further, I felt like his performance was the best tonight that it has ever been, and I found myself able to listen to him without yawning as much. However, John’s insistence that his is not moderate is not consistent with his history, nor with his (amusing but accurate) declaration that he should be running as a democrat (seriously,http://www.cbsnews.com/…/john-kasich-jokes-about-democrati…/)

John may be sincere, but his lack of conservative values, his ignoring the constitutional principles that bind the federal government, and his desire to grow government make him #NotThatGuy

Jeb Bush – I’m convinced that Jeb is a good man, and there’s a lot to be said for that. Ignoring his deer-in-the-headlights look (which I didn’t notice tonight) and his increasingly desperate attempts to feel important and needed, (http://www.nbcnews.com/…/jeb-bush-asks-n-h-audience-to-plea…), tonight’s debate was, hands down, his best to date. He, for the first time, successfully stood up to Donald Trump, to the point (as I’ve already mentioned) of winning the exchange (in my opinion). Because of his success as the governor of Florida, I’d almost support him if… well, no I wouldn’t… like the other progressive republicans on the stage, he’s in favor of growing government and ignoring the constitution… and he’s a bush which, even if the other problems didn’t, would still make him #NotThatGuy

Dr. Ben Carson is one of the most admirable men in the race, but he sadly under performed again in this debate. He clearly fails to understand significant portions of policy both foreign and domestic. His cowardice in regards to Trump in the past (failing to defend himself when Trump called him a pedophile) followed by his dishonest complaints against Cruz this week (we literally don’t have a single case of a person who caucused with Cruz having been duped out of caucusing for Carson, yet he insists that the ‘dirty trick’ played by cruz cost him several points in Iowa’s results… yet he still out-performed his polls), anyway, his complaints are inconsistent with his past evangelical calls for honesty in the political narrative. Further, his recent actions have called into question his ability to budget, to run any organization, or to handle criticism or inaccurate reports; all of which are critical skills for the chief executive of the United States. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the issues surrounding the media created ‘cruz/carson feud,’ I’d suggest this article, which, while not favorable to carson, is (I beleive) an accurate review:https://www.conservativereview.com/…/carson-needs-to-look-i…)

Dr. Carson has fallen significantly in my view. While he has brought to the republican stage the moral conscience missing by many, and while his story and history is nothing short of miraculous and inspiring, his recent dishonesty, inconsistent grudge holding, and his failure to gain the necessary understanding, but to rely only on his ability to make quick decisions and to pick knowledgeable advisers, combined with his sketchy lack of campaigning in the early states (what is he doing with his significant campaign finances, if not campaigning, seriously?) shows me that if he will ever be capable of holding the highest office in the land, it’s not now, placing him (for the first time) in the category of #NotThatGuy

Chris Christie did very well tonight. He kept coming at Marco, which is understanding considering how well Marco has been doing this last week, and how quickly he’s risen in the polls. He hasn’t been exactly honest about Marco, and I don’t think he was right in some of his criticisms tonight (though he was spot on concerning Marco’s frequent speaking in 30 second sound bites without actually saying anything), nonetheless, he got under Marco’s skin tonight and really took him to task.

Chris is the kind of fat, gravy-on-his-shirt guy that I suspected would hold the most sway following the Obama presidency (being so well put together and never speaking without first poll-testing his speeches), sadly for Chris, the Donald filled that roll with his anti-PC language… and unfortunately for us, because while Chris is no conservative, nor friend of the constitution, he’s not nearly as dangerous as the Trump. However, he’d do us no favors either, growing government, limiting rights, and filling Supreme Court positions with activists rather than constructionists (http://www.nationalreview.com/…/christie-type-judges-are-li…). He’s great at debating, mainly because he is good at controlling the discussion, which he invariably keeps as far away from conservative conversation as possible (because he invariably gets destroyed in these areas). Despite the fact that I like him, he is clearly #NotThatGuy

Marco Rubio is a fabulous speaker. He’s young, energetic and attractive. He’s well spoken and clear. He is, in short, the perfect politician. However, he lost the debate for a couple of reasons: 1st, he had the most to lose – Trump’s followers aren’t going anywhere, and since Rubio is coming in 2nd in the polls (and only recently, as he’s risen quickly) his support in NH can be swayed away from him. In short, he got the brunt of the opposition tonight in the same way that Cruz did last week. 2nd, because he allowed himself to be flustered (seriously flustered) by Christie. He continually repeated himself, particularly on the losing issue that Obama knows what he is doing (a point that shouldn’t be easily dismissed: I think Rubio is right on this point, but he clearly lost the argument on it), and he got caught speaking in 30 second stump speeches that sound great but say nothing (thanks again to Rubio). Despite my believe that he and Trump did equally poorly tonight, Trump won’t lose much if anything for the poor performance, but if we don’t see Rubio fall in the polls, I doubt we’ll see his growth continue.

Marco’s support of the gang of 8’s attempt at amnesty a few years ago stands as one of his biggest friction points with traditional conservatives. However, as I’ve said before, this is less a problem to me than it is for many others. Being on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he is intimately familiar with the rising concern of ISIS and other Islamist factions and the threat that they pose to the safety and security of the United States, however because of this concern, he willingly calls for the unconstitutional use of general warrants (not called that) in regards to personal cellular and internet data.

A small point is this: The founders included the 4th amendment specifically to prevent the use of General Warrants which involved the representatives of the King entering the homes and businesses of private citizens looking for evidence that they had committed a crime (mind you, this without suspicion that a crime had been committed, just looking for any crime) – the 4th amendment specifically protects people from warrantless searches in all their effects (this includes cell and internet data), AND specifies that a warrant cannot be granted without probable cause (that is, a substantiated belief that it is more likely than not that a crime has been committed). These warrants are specific (I mean, VERY specific) and are therefor the exact opposite of General Warrants.

Marco has consistently condemned Obama for his unconstitutional, unilateral action against the second amendment rights of the American People, but he hypocritically seeks to take similar action against the 4th amendment rights of the American People. I don’t doubt that he has compelling evidence from his senate committee that leads him to this conclusion, but if he wants to strip us of our rights, I would like him to seek a constitutional amendment repealing the 4th (which he won’t do, because he would be run out of town on a rail). This hypocrisy, combined with his consistent condemnation of those who voted to limit the unconstitutional actions of the NSA make Rubio #NotThatGuy

Ted Cruz won tonight’s debate because he consistently, clearly argued his points without the need to rest on ad hominem attacks against his opponents. He missed some of his normal awkward charm, but made up for it in humility and clarity. He also successfully pointed out that one can win with constitutional conservative values, even when those values are unpopular (Using Iowa and the farm subsidies, that he opposed them and the people of Iowa support them, and they still supported him)

Ted stands unique, having not just a basic understanding of constitutional power and authority of the Federal Government, but, having successfully defended the constitution multiple times before the supreme court, he has a history of fighting for the constitution. There are some who have doubts about Ted’s honesty, or trustworthiness. I think that these mostly likely come from Cruz’s awkward, robotic feel.

The Savior taught us that “by their fruits, ye shall know them,” when examining whether Ted is an honest or trustworthy person, we must simply look at the fruits of his honesty. What are the fruits? his history and record, combined with his word – does he and has he done what he said he will and would? There are some on the debate stage who’s integrity is demonstrably lacking (Trump and Clinton are excellent examples of this), but few challenge Ted’s record, in fact, his most consistent complaint is that he won’t ‘make deals’ because of his devotion to his principles. There are, however, 2 or 3 points of concern on this issue. Allow me to look at them:

The first is his stance on the ‘Gang of 8’ bill – Ted proposed an amendment that would forbid illegal aliens from receiving citizenship, but the amendment did not deny them the ability to stay in the US. Rubio insists that Ted was in favor of amnesty, barring citizenship, or else he wouldn’t have proposed the amendment. Rand Paul implied the same (though, the comment looked hesitant, like he knew he was being untruthful, if you ask me). If Rubio is correct, this would be a problem for Cruz, as he ran on an anti-amnesty platform, and decries any form of amnesty now: so has he flip-flopped on the issue? Ted claims that he inserted the amendment in order to clarify the bill (the writers insisted that they had no intent to grant citizenship to illegal aliens) – if they writers were being honest, they would have no issue including his amendment into the bill to be more clear. If they were being deceitful, they would oppose the amendment. Further, if the amendment was included, the bill would be able to accept the support of many Republicans (who might be willing to address immigration reform, but would never accept a path to citizenship), However it would come at the cost of most democrats (who wouldn’t support a bill that didn’t include a path to citizenship.) Ted’s amendment is, therefore, viewed by many as a ‘poison pill,’ or an amendment meant to kill a bill – Ted denies this, and insists that the amendment was meant simply to clarify the promised intent of the bill’s authors (which included Rubio). The amendment was not accepted because the original authors were, in fact, being dishonest, and really wanted a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The ‘Gang of 8’ bill ultimately failed. Ted’s behavior is, to me, at least, consistent with Ted’s anti-amnesty stance, and is not evidence of dishonesty or a lack of consistency. Megyn Kelly, who is well known for her hard but fair challenges of the candidates, and who is not known as a Ted Cruz supporter (I really have no idea who, if anyone, she supports), drew the same conclusion following the Fox News Debate last week – “I looked back at your record a lot to see, did Ted Cruz really want legalization or didn’t he? I think the record supports you that you did not want it. It does.” (http://www.redstate.com/…/ted-cruz-support-amnesty-concede…/)

Next, Ted is accused of sending out deliberately dishonest flyers to the people of Iowa (this accusation comes primarily from Trump). an image of the flyers can be found in this news story (http://www.theblaze.com/…/see-the-public-shaming-mailer-cr…/) – personally, I receive mailers that look like official crap all the time. I seriously don’t understand why this is an issue at all. Does it lack some taste? maybe. Does it violate law? all the experts say no. Does it show a lack of integrity? not even remotely, so I move on.

Finally, the recent issue of Ted “stealing” Dr. Carson’s caucusers by telling partial truths or by lying? Here’s the facts, and some of these oppose CNN’s narrative, but they are the facts nonetheless – CNN tweeted that “Ben Carson will likely speak at his victory party in Iowa before caucus results are in so he can catch a flight.”Followed by a tweet that “Carson won’t go to NH/SC, but instead will head home to Florida for some R&R. He’ll be in DC Thursday for the National Prayer Breakfast.”

Despite a clarifying tweet immediately after this one, which read “Ben Carson’s campaign tells me he plans to stay in the race beyond Iowa no matter what the results are tonight,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper and Dana Bash discuss Moody’s report on air:

Tapper: Thanks, Wolf. Well, CNN has learned some news about the man who, at least according to polls, is in fourth place here in Iowa. Now, Dana, a week from tomorrow, we’re all going to be doing this again for the New Hampshire primary. So almost every single candidate is going to be going directly from here to New Hampshire to campaign–except for the man in fourth place, who a few months ago was in first place here, Dr. Ben Carson. What have we learned?
Bash: That’s right. We should say that our Chris Moody is breaking this news, that Ben Carson is going to go back to Florida, to his home, regardless of how he does tonight here in Iowa. He’s going to go there for several days. And then afterwards, he’s not going to go to South Carolina. He’s not going to go to New Hampshire. He’s going to come to Washington, D.C., and he’s going to do that because the National Prayer Breakfast is on Thursday. And people who have been following Ben Carson’s career know that that’s really where he got himself on the political map, attending that prayer breakfast, and really giving it to President Obama at the time. And he became kind of a hero among conservatives, among evangelicals especially.
Tapper: But it’s very unusual–
Bash: Very unusual.
Tapper: –to be announcing that you’re going to go home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site. Plus, he’s already announced that he’s going to be coming out and speaking at 9:15 local and 10:15 Eastern, no matter whether or not we know the results, because he wants to get home and get ahead of the storm.
Bash: Look, if you want to be President of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. I mean, that’s bottom line. That’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you want it, that you’re hungry for it, that you want them to get out and and campaign, you’ve got to be out there doing it too. And he’s not doing it. it’s very unusual.
Tapper: Very unusual news that CNN has just learned. CNN’s Chris Moody breaking the story. Wolf, back to you in Washington.
Blitzer: Very significant news indeed, guys, thanks very much.

Just minutes later, Cruz’s campaign sent an email to a few key organizers that “the press is reporting that Dr. Ben Carson is taking time off from the campaign trail after Iowa and making a big announcement next week. Please inform Caucus goers of this news and urge them to caucus for Ted Cruz.”

Ted’s campaign claims that it did not know about the tweets, but that it was working off of the news report from CNN. Further, Carson’s actions (leaving Iowa before the results were in, irrespective of the results; flying to Florida for a few days; ignoring the next 2 states before going to the Washington Prayer breakfast, which is not a campaign stop – in short, that he would not be campaigning for the next week leading up to the next state primary, combined with a significant shrinking of Carson’s campaign staff, which also happened this same day, and the previous week’s mass defection of Carson supporters to Cruz) All indicate to any reasonable person that Carson’s campaign was over – an assertion that I still believe, despite his strong showing in Iowa and his participation in tonight’s debate.

Cruz supporters took this information and ran with it – they began telling others that Carson was out. They began tweeting this out.

Carson called these actions ‘dirty tricks’ – but this fails to recognize several things: first, the CNN story was not wrong – Carson has not campaigned in New Hampshire, nor does he intend to go to South Carolina, and he did take time off in Florida immediately following the Iowa Caucus. Next, and perhaps most importantly, There is literally NO indication that anyone was deceived into caucusing for Cruz instead of Carson – if there were those people, wouldn’t they come forward “hey, I was told that Carson was out and that I couldn’t support him!” It is possible that some were persuaded to change their support because of this information, and because it appeared to them (as it does to me) that Carson is actually ending his campaign, but just hasn’t announced it yet – but THAT IS THE POINT OF THE CAUCUS METHOD – to persuade, convince and get others to change who they support. If anyone did change their support, it seems that they are solidly changed.

Finally, Cruz called Carson to apologize, telling him that he didn’t know (until Carson ‘clarified’) That Carson was staying in – Carson asked for a public apology, which Cruz humbly gave just the next day. Carson ‘accepted’ the apology, but insists that “no actions have been taken to correct the problem. That I cannot accept.” – He is calling for Cruz to terminate the leaders of his campaign, which Cruz refuses to do because they were simply acting upon a news story (which turned out to be accurate) and inferring that Carson was out based on what was reported in that report.

Trump has jumped forward calling for Cruz’s votes in Iowa to be nullified, suggesting that Cruz defrauded the people of Iowa, an accusation based in nothing but Trump’s thin skin, but that (sadly) Dr. Carson has been silently allowing. Carson over performed the polls, as did both Cruz and Rubio (all by similar amounts) while Trump under performed. Karl Rove argued that Cruz stole nearly 5 percent of the votes from Carson (which would have meant that Carson’s vote tally would have been nearly double his polls, with no indicator on why he increased, particularly since he didn’t do that well in the debate)

Ultimately, the conclusion that some have made is that Ted lied in order to ‘steal’ votes (though, again, convincing others is exactly what caucusing is about) – but there is no one who has come forward saying that they caucused for Ted rather than Ben because they were deceived – the result is that there would have been NO significant change if things had not played out this way. But the important part: did Ted lie? I’m not convinced that there is any evidence to support the idea that he did. Was ted tricky and false (precious)? It doesn’t appear to me that he was. Was Ted underhanded? No – he was organized and on top of the news that would help him. Did Ted’s campaign take votes from Ben? I hope so, and from Rubio, and Trump, and Bush, etc – that’s what a caucus is for – to convince others to change their votes.

So the long of it is this: Ted’s record doesn’t show him to be dishonest. It does show him to be well organized. It does show him to be principled (something that I admire, though others, like Jimmy Carter, dislike); it does show him to have a strong passion for the Constitution of the United States, and ultimately that’s what I’m looking for.

Finally, Carly Fiorina didn’t make the debate stage, but she should have, because she outperformed several of the people on tonight’s stage in Iowa. Jim Gilmore didn’t make it either, but he didn’t deserve to – and he’s still #NotThatGuy

I’m down to 2 people left in the republican party that I would vote for – Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina. Sadly, I don’t see a path for victory for Carly. If these 2 fall off, I’ll have to look more seriously at the other parties. I couldn’t vote for Bernie Sanders because he’s a democratic socialist, which is an inherently anti-constitutional view, and because socialism is seriously evil, maybe I’ll write about that someday… nor Hillary Clintonbecause she’s a closet communist… and she’s just full on crazy evil.

Does anyone have any other candidate recommendations?

Guns and Going to the Extreme

Let’s talk guns for a minute:

It’s an important thing to carry ones argument to the failing point, and every argument has a failing point. I tend to be more libertarian, but the libertarian failing point is anarchy – when you carry libertarian principles to the extreme, the result is anarchy, which is a failed idea. So, as a libertarian leaning person, I must recognize the failing point, or the extreme, of my values, and then draw a line. Some might say “anarchy is the way to go,” in fact, I remember debating someone with that view in high school – I showed her that the result of anarchy was mob rule, or worse, strong-man rule. She insisted that with no laws, people would be inherently good and treat each other justly. In her mind, all evil stems from the government. I disagree with her fundamentally. I believe that, while most people are good, it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone else: this is the purpose of government – to keep people from harming others or taking their stuff. 

Having gone to the extreme of my viewpoint, I draw the line. For me, the place to be is as far toward the libertarian extreme as we can get, without the breakdown of society. For me, the line is the US Constitution. There are, admittedly, a couple of amendments that I would repeal, given the chance to be dictator-for-a-day, (the 16th and 17th come to mind) and a few that I would add, given that same authority (a balanced budget amendment, for example). I believe that the US constitution, as written, provides the greatest liberty to the greatest amount of people, while still holding together the republic that best protects people from other people.
So to guns – I think the argument has been settled since 1791, but there still seems to be constant questioning, particularly when people die because bad people use guns badly.

So to discuss guns, we ask what are the extremes? 

To the authoritarian extreme: Complete governmental control of all guns; keeping guns in the hands of the military and police forces.

The the liberal extreme: the complete obliteration of all guns, the removal of the existence of guns, and the ability to create guns.

The Conservative extreme: The restriction of armament to the good, honest, emotionally stable

The libertarian extreme: The complete removal of any restriction of armament, up to and including weapons of mass destruction.

So seeing the extreme of each position, I’ll sum up the breakdown of them: The authoritarian extreme fails because it doesn’t allow for evil in government, nor does it truly protect the populous. this is evidenced in Australia, and the UK, who, implementing laws that draw close to the authoritarian extreme, have had a significant increase in violent crime, (though an overall decrease in gun crime…), an increase in *hot* home break-ins (hot meaning that the resident is home at the time of the break-in) and a decrease in overall public safety.

The Liberal extreme fails because it is literally impossible. Even if all guns could be rounded up and destroyed, and all gun manufactures put out of business world wide, guns aren’t really all that difficult to manufacture at a small-scale level, and the black market of home made guns would immediately take off.

The conservative extreme is theoretically lovely, but like the liberal extreme, it’s impossible. How do we restrict the armament of the evil, the dishonest, the emotionally unstable proactively? This is the current question and intent of law enforcement theory, and the science-fiction end result is Minority Report – the removal of rights based on what a person MIGHT do, rather than what they HAVE done.

Finally the Libertarian extreme fails because SOME people are evil, SOME people want to kill many people, and allowing weapons of mass destruction into everyone’s hands doesn’t result in cold-war stalemates, but rather mass destruction
Of course, few people sit in any one extreme, (and few will admit to actually being extreme in their position) – around here, we tend to get people who are both conservative and authoritarian in their views. The result is that they trust the government without (or with little) condition, while still desiring allow people their rights. This is an awkward conclusion – a people who support individual rights as directed by the central governmental force (I tend to think that this view is hypocritical, naive, or stupid).

In some areas, the combination is a liberal-authoritarian view (DC and Chicago come to mind) – complete trust on government, paying lip service to individual rights, but refusing individuals the ability to make any decisions – the end result is some of the highest murder rates in the country, general distrust (and riots) against the police, who at best fail to protect the citizenry, and at worst act as tyrants over them.
My view tends to be libertarian/conservative – While I don’t thing that we should have any restrictions on personal armament, I also do not want weapons of mass destruction in the hands of the evil or ill-intending, and am willing to allow for the restriction of those weapons on all individuals.

I used to make the liberal exception: if we could remove all guns from history, and the knowledge of them, we’d be better off. after all, guns are only (or mainly) to just kill people… except, they aren’t. they aren’t just to kill people, they’re to equalize people.

We get caught up in the second amendment being about guns. If the Bill of Rights enumerates God-given rights, surely ‘guns’ don’t fall into that category? Surely, God didn’t give us the right to have GUNS? No, He didn’t. He created us with the right to defend ourselves. There’s an old saying: God made man, Sam Colt made them equal. Guns give everyone an ‘equal’ shot at defending themselves
Of course, not everyone is ‘equal’ – some people are faster, some people are better shots, some are better trained, some are better equipped, but those things are all controllable at an individual level. Even as a disabled person, I can train, practice, and spend my time and money on the best equipment and education to be the best prepared and most equal in defending myself. Without guns, I cannot do that. for all intents and purposes, I’m crippled. I cannot defend myself using martial arts, despite my knowledge of some. I cannot defend myself with a sword or knife or baton, despite being trained to do so with at least 1 of those. And because my disabilities are no longer invisible, I’m at a significantly higher risk of being targeted as a victim of violent crime. A gun gives me a real shot (no pun intended) at defending myself against someone intent on harming me.

(There’s no one trying to get you, some argue – but they are deliberately or ignorantly confuscating the point: I have a right to defend myself period, not just a right to defend myself only if someone is trying to get me)

So back to the first full paragraph: What is the end conclusion, taking into account the extremes? I am in favor of the greatest amount of personal liberty possible. My personal extreme is the libertarian extreme, but the line I draw is for weapons of mass destruction. I’m not sure that the second amendment allows for that restriction. But we’ve a long way to go before we get to that extreme… a long way.
When deciding policy, we MUST define our personal lines. we must define our political lines. Where do we stop? The problem with most proponents of “common sense gun control laws” or other bull-manure fallacies, is that they say “let’s go toward this extreme. we’ll go only a little bit toward it, for now, but next time, we’ll go farther. and the time after, we’ll go farther. and then farther. eventually we’ll be close to the extreme, but at no point will we define where we will stop.” This is why the discussion rankles people like me, we Second Amendment supporters. It feels dishonest, and in the case of most politicians, it IS dishonest. So before I’m willing to have the conversation, the ‘other side’ has to first acknowledge the extreme and put into place their stopping line. 

What is the problem with the Founder’s stopping line? Their line is “The Right of the People to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.” It’s the libertarian view. The problem that people have with the Founder’s stopping line is that it leaves room for bad people to do bad things. We naturally want to prevent a San Bernardino, or an Aurora, or any number of other events wherein bad people did bad things. What nobody is willing to admit is that we CAN’T prevent all of those things. That’s not a nice admission. That’s not something we want to hear. But we can EITHER control the actions of every individual in our country, OR we can keep our people free to choose. The first doesn’t work, and it also strips the individuals of liberty AND responsibility. Both allow for bad people to bad things. 

It is hard to admit that in a free society, people will make decisions that we disagree with. People will use their freedoms to make poor choices. They’ll use that freedom to make bad choices. They’ll use that freedom to make decisions that hurt themselves or others. It’s hard to allow people to be wrong. But Freedom can’t exist without that choice.

It’s difficult to make policy decisions that are perfect. But if we can’t be perfect, I’d err on the side of personal liberty.

 

Compromise, Puppy Tails, and Crook’s Foots 

Any detailed search can show that the significant majority of criminals have 2 legs. I don’t know why the media consistently chooses to ignore this fact.  The statistics, however, show a clear correlation: bad guys have 2 legs.

During the course of this post, I’m sure to make some chuckle, some laugh and some grimace. There are those that will understand my meaning quickly, and take the point for what it is worth. Some will be offended, and still others may not understand me at all. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, please understand that while I have a very serious underlying message, the point is intended to be lighthearted and silly.

All puppies are born with a long tail. Within days, some version of the following conversation takes place between the owner of the puppy, and the puppy himself:

Owner: puppy, you’re old enough, it’s time to take you to the vet and get your tail cropped.

Puppy: oh, okay. Why does that mean?

O: well, the vet will numb your tail and humanly chop it off about 2 vertebrae above your bum. The whole thing is harms and necessary. Would you rather go tomorrow or today?

P: wait, chop it off? You can’t be serious?

O: of course I am. Dogs don’t have long tails. Would tomorrow or today be better?

P: can’t we talk about this? I don’t want my tail to be mutilated!

O: well, I guess we could keep it a little longer, just to show how reasonable I am. We’ll only chop off 3/4 of the tail. Would you rather do it today or tomorrow?

P: no, you don’t understand, I don’t want any part of my tail cut off! It’s mine, and I like it!

O: don’t be unreasonable! I’m willing to compromise, that’s why we’ll leave 25% of your tail! And just to show how reasonable I am, we’ll even wait until the day after tomorrow, so you can say goodbye to your tail, though I can’t imagine why you’d want to.

P: Compromise? Is there any form of compromise that doesn’t involve my tail being mutilated?

O: now you’re just being silly. Look, let’s just take off half of the tail. See how reasonable I am being? 

P: no! Please, I don’t want any part of my tail removed.

O: well, your lack of reasonable compromise show that you aren’t even willing to engage in responsible conversation. We are going to the vet today and we’re taking off the whole tail! I’ve tried to negotiate with you, I’ve tried being responsible, I’ve tried compromise, but you’re just stubbornly clinging to your tail. Let’s go!

And the puppy whines all the way to the vet, who reasonably lops off most or even all of the dog’s tail, mutilating the dog to better fit the owner’s view of what “dog” looks like. 

We all see how unreasonable the puppy is in this scenario, right? The owner just wanted to get things done, and was even willing to give up what he wanted to try to assuage the unreasonable puppy. Why wasn’t the puppy willing to just work to get things done? Instead the unreasonable puppy insisted on grandstanding and insisting that it should be his choice!

This brings us back to the opening paragraph: 

the statistics all show that the vast majority of criminals have two legs. I propose that we, reasonably remove 1 leg from each person. Doing this would, of course, ensure that we would eliminate criminals from our society almost over night! Sure, we’d each be single amputees, but there would be no crime!

What? You want to keep both of your legs? Why? Are you a criminal? We’ve already shown that criminals have two legs! If you’re not a criminal, there should be nothing to worry about!

What? I’m being unreasonable!?! You can’t dispute my facts, and still insist that you need both legs. Clearly you either are a criminal or you support criminal behavior. Fine. We’ll just take your left foot. See how compromising I can be?

What? You want to keep your left foot? Now your just being deliberately difficult! Fine! You can keep your left foot, I’ll just take your right foot! Now, it’s time to stop this ridiculous…

What now?! You need both feet? You’re just grandstanding. We’re talking about common sense application of the science, and you keep whining about walking! Fine, we’ll take the 4 smaller toes on your right foot, the larger toe on the left. Even you can’t  expect…

Seriously? You complain about that? You know what? I’ve tried to be reasonable! I’ve made every allowance! I’ve proposed compromise after compromise and you just dig in and make sure that nothing gets done! We’ll need to have some great executive just take control and make it happen!

Who is reasonable in these examples? Is the reasonable person he who compromises, or he that grandstands?

In our current political climate, we continually hear about how the American People just want congress and the president to “get things done,” people who will “reach across the isle,” or who will “make reasonable compromises.” But do you know what? I’m tired of the “reasonable compromises” of our values and principles. My argument is simply this: compromise is not good, it’s evil! Compromise, without fail, gives in to evil. It just does it more slowly than just giving in completely. Instead of someone who reaches across the isle to get things done, I will only support someone who will grandstand for the truth. It is  not up for debate. There is no reasonable restriction to be had when it comes to my God-given rights.

But does that mean I don’t support bipartisanship? Certainly not! Those on the other side are more than welcome to compromise their points of view to join me! I say it partially in jest, but they are! Further, there are points on which we can almost all agree, even without any compromise. For example; we are failing our vets. Many are literally dying to get an appointment with the VA. This is not some kind of social welfare program, instead it is a contractually guaranteed benefit to our military, and we are failing them. There could reasonably be some discussion on how we resolve the problem, but that we resolve the problem cannot be compromised. Both sides agree, but yet nothing happens.

My challenge to you, reader, is to never throw your support behind someone willing to settle for just the amputation of your foot. Stand with those unwilling to give in, unwilling to compromise, and unwilling to surrender their values for political gain. Compromise is evil, not good.

Democracy, the United States, and the Importance of Semantics

Let’s talk about democracy for a minute.

In the course of discussing any topic, one must first begin by defining terms. Using our language, it’s no longer safe to assume that people, particularly those with different or opposing views, values, or principles, will inherently understand our terminology. Often dictionary terms are sufficient, but particularly when terms have changed over time, it’s critical for common understanding to explain our meanings. A perfect example, though not politically correct, is the word “gay.” If I post a Facebook update stating how gay I am, despite using a meaning pulled right from the dictionary, I’d have some confused family and friends (particularly my wife and kids), while I myself would be frustrated by every else’s stupidity: of course I mean I’m happy!
So allow me to define terminology:A democracy is a form of government werein each individual of society has equal political weight or equal voting power. Simply put, it means that every person gets 1 equal vote. Regardless of current dictionary definitions, it does not include representative governments, unless those representatives simply write laws, which are then placed to the people for direct voting.

A republic, on the other hand, is a representative form of government wherein representatives are selected by the people to represent them in government. These representatives may or may not be directly (or democratically) elected, but the representatives make the ultimate decisions of government: they write and vote on the laws.

Now having defined these things, let’s talk about our government. We (the United States) are NOT a democracy. I will explain, so please continue reading before you get your torch. In fact, there is not any aspect of the constitutionally outlined federal government that IS a democracy. 

Why do the terms matter? Because democracies and republics aren’t the same. They are not equal in efficiency, nor in equity. They do not grant to the people the same level of Liberty.

But our society has conflated (deliberately or not) the two terms, believing that a republic is a form of democracy, and as a consequence our populous has become ignorant and complacent. This has lead to political devision. Worse, it has made common the belief that the American Constitution is nothing special, not spectacular, and even an outdated and out of place document. This is dangerous, but that is a conversation for another time.

So what did the founders want? The founders looked at multiple forms of government when re-evaluating our first confederacy. They looked at a monarchy, which was the standard of government at the time. They looked at limited monarchy, similar to England (in fact many principals of our government come directly from England’s government), they looked back into history and saw Greece’s democratic (little ‘d’) and Rome’s republican (little ‘r’) governments. They looked at the Anglo-Saxon tribal governments. And they realized that the best form of government for a free and liberated people was (and is) a republic. However, Rome’s example didn’t fit our needs. They specifically decried all of the examples of democracy; Madison called democracy “incompatible with personal security or the rights of property.” Jefferson called it “nothing more than mob rule.”

So the Founders recognized a clear distinction, if we are to understand our government, so must we.

Now we take a brief look at the federal and state governments of the United States, as I have said, there is not any part of our government that is, if we follow the constitution, democratic.

The majority of the constitution is spent in the creation of the congress. Apart from being the most complex portion of our federal government, it is clear that the constitution and its signers intended congress to be the greatest and most powerful portion of our government.

Congress is split into two sections (an idea taken from England) the House and the Senate (a concept of Rome). The house is representative of the people of each state, and is the closest thing we have to a democratic section of government at a federal level… But it’s not democratic. Why? Because each person has different weight in the voting process. My vote in Wyoming (if I lived there) would have greater weight than my vote in California (God forbid I live there: too many people). Thus, despite being similar to a democratically elected house, the House of Representatives is distinctly NOT a democracy. 

Next the Senate, which, (until the 17th amendment) was filled, not by the vote of the people of the state, but rather by the vote of the state’s governments. Why? Because the senate is designed (or was designed) to represent the STATES, not the people of those states. Again, an important distinction. It’s a distinction that shows that the Founders desired to keep the new government similar to the original Articles of Confederation, keeping our various states (read: countries) confederated (or federated) together, but each being distinctly sovereign over its own polices.

The 17th amendment, which I would repeal given the chance, significantly muddied the original intent of the federal government, and made the senate little more than another House of Representatives. In neither the initial design, nor in the current design is the Senate democratically elected. Having 2 senators from each state means that a person’s vote in Wyoming has significantly more weight than a Californian’s: a distinctively un-democratic thing.

Next the Presidential Branch: the president is elected by electoral vote, rather than popular vote. Despite current desire to push for popular election of the president, it is important that the election process remains the way it is defined in the constitution. Why? Because the president is the leader of the STATES, not of the people of the states. He (or she) should be representing the states equally, not the people equally. This position is anti-democratic, if you will, and it defined the 2000 election, much to the chagrin of Al Gore. 

And finally, and least of the three branches, is the judicial branch (but wait, jared: the branches are co-equal! No! Nowhere in the constitution will you find the words “co-equal branches of government” nor any language attempting to convey that idea. The constitution simply a declares that congress shall establish a Supreme Court. “Co-equal” is a term coined by, you guessed it, the Supreme Court! It is a perfect example of a branch of government commandeering the authority of another branch – a branch that is almost without fail the congress). the court is filled by appointed positions: clearly an anti-democratic concept. On further rant: the court cannot create law. It cannot write law. It cannot establish law. The constitution simply gives the court the authority to give an OPINION concerning law. Congress, according to the constitution, has the ultimate authority to decide constitutionality of law, not the Court.

So on the federal level, no part of our government is democratic. But what of the states? the constitution does not leave it to the states to be governed by democracy. The constitution declares that one of the few purposes of the federal government is to ensure that each of the States ha a republican form of government. Thus each had state must be, like the federal government, republican in design. Cities, townships, and counties could choose to be democratic, if their state’s constitution allowed; the constitution does not forbid democracy at that small scale.

In conclusion, when people say that we are a democracy: the correction is important, even if it is annoying. We are not a democratic nation, nor have we ever been, nor are we constitutionally allowed to be. 

Democracy is contrary to freedom. Democracy is best (in my mind) represented by the symbols of the torch and pitchfork. Justice and liberty cannot live long in a democracy.

My Religion, Faith, and Politics

I suppose before a person can begin making arguments to persuade others to their point of view, it helps to first declare that point of view. When Hamilton rote the first Federalist Paper, he made clear his intent to convince his readers of the importance of federalism and the new Constitution. I don’t pretend that my lowly blog will ever be as well written nor as widely read as those masterful works, but I do hope to mimic their methods.

So without further ado, I endeavor to inform my reader (or readers? I hope so) on the basis or foundation of my beliefs.

Religion:

I was born to parents who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a child, I did not doubt the testimonies of my parents. I had no reason to. I was baptized, as is customary in our Church, at the age of 8, when I was old enough to know what I was doing and make my own decision. I proudly remember stepping into the warm font waters on February 9th, just days after I turned 8. I was baptized by my father, who at the time was an Elder of the Church.

My first doubt came when I learned the true nature of Santa: if my parents where not telling me the truth about that man, what else would they lie about? Looking back, it was no significant crisis of faith, but it was my first, and so it felt significant at the time. Fortunately, my parents had wisely taught me the correct principles of the Church since I was old enough to learn and the crisis of faith was averted shortly, and without them ever knowing (this may be the first time they’ve heard that: surprise!) Those that know me best will, rightly, gather that this is the cause of my aversion to Santa: I am convinced that he strips faith, rather than building it.

At the age of 12 I happily was ordained a Deacon in the Church, having hands laid on my by the Elders and leaders of our congregation. This consisted of responsibilities and also the power of the lesser, Aaronic Priesthood. My responsibilities consisted primarily of passing the sacrament of bread and water to the congregants. This was a role took seriously.

At 14, as is the standard, I was given additional responsibility as a Teacher. I kept my Deacon’s responsibilities, but added the role of entering into the homes of those in our congregation, checking that their physical and spiritual needs were being met, and teaching them gospel messages. My first partner was my father, his masterful instruction began my lifelong love for educating others, and myself.

At 16, as is standard, I rose to the calling of Priest: still an office of the lesser Priesthood, I added the responsibilities of preparing and blessing the sacrament and working with the Elders to prepare myself for proselytism. I believe that, while somewhat silly, I was a serious and sober young man. I took my commitments to the Church seriously and pushed myself to do as I was expected.

It was during this time that I was in an accident that would shape the course of my life. I’ve written of this event in some detail, and won’t repeat the whole of it here. But critical to my faith in the Priesthood, having had every attempt at modern medical science fail to help me heal, I had the hands of the Elders laid on my head, first anointing me with oil and then, my father acting as voice, commanding my body to heal. This is something that I am hesitant to share openly on the Internet to the random stranger who may read this, due to the very sacred nature of the experience. Nonetheless, my body healed within weeks rather than the many months it should have taken. As the New Testament promises, the laying on of hands had healed me when I had become a wonder to medicine by not healing.

Having my faith buoyed up by both the subtle whispering a of the spirit and the majorly miraculous workings of the Priesthood, i accepted the calling of Elder and the accompanying greater responsibility of the higher Melchizedek Priesthood. With it, came the call to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world. A calling I took to Detroit, Michigan, where I served as a full time missionary for two years without payment and at the loving expense of my parents.

I hope to share some of my missionary experiences in other writings. But let me sum up the experience as this: it was the most difficult, most trying, most exhausting, and most powerfully rewarding time of my life up to that to that point. My father would occasionally share his mission’s experiences with me by letter. And my mothers faith, testimony and teaching on my behalf impacted me daily. One small story: the first area of my mission was in Sterling Heights, Michigan, an area populated in no small part by the Iraqi Chaldeans, who are the Christians currently genocidally butchered in the Middle East by the radicals of the Islamic State. These loving Christians shared some wonderful aspects of their culture with me, including their food (which I remember with the highest fondness) in my first 6 or 7 weeks, I’d gone from 160 pounds to 215 pounds… I had gotten fat. I spoke to my mother on Mother’s Day, and told her that I intended to send home my unfitting and unopened clothes, asking her to replace them with a larger size and send them back. I will enter forget her sage and loving instruction: “gluttony is a sin. Lose weight!” The blatant and unrestricted truth has always been my mother’s style, and I took her chastisement to heart and lost the fat that I had quickly accumulated. (A process much more difficult than gaining it in the first place).

Returning home, I found a singles congregation and endeavored to fully integrate. I was asked to teach Sunday School,  which I enjoyed. I failed at integration, as I married my lovely wife just 4 1/2 months after returning home.
Julie and I were married in the Idaho  Falls temple. Like the temples of old, the temples of the LDS Church are the places that we dedicate for the work of the Lord. It is here that God has established to be His house on earth. Appropriately, and as the faithful of old, we put every effort into the ensuring that the buildings are the finest in the world. It was in one of the white rooms of the Temple that I knelt across from my beloved and made the sacred covenant of marriage with her in front of witnesses and in the sight of angels.

Some believe that what goes on in the temple is nefarious because members of the LDS Church don’t speak about them: this isn’t true. We do wonderful things in the temple: taking symbolic actions to learn and make covenants with God. One action performed both inside and outside is baptism: the symbolism is simple enough; thy we are laid down beneath the water as if being laid down in the earth and rise up as a new person; laying down in death our old self and being raised up new in Christ. Because of the sacred nature of these things, however, we don’t talk freely about them, and rarely. I will likely not go into detail in my posts on the acts of the temple.

I’ve held many callings in the Church, but they have been primarily either scouting or teaching: my two passions.

Over the course of my adult life, I’ve never questioned my belief that the Church is God’s. I’ve had too many declarations from Him to doubt it. I have had some trials of faith, but I’ve never doubted that.

Faith:

Some might question why I would separate faith and religion. The answer is that, I’m not sure that they are the same, though they are undoubtedly tied.

From the earliest age, my parents taught me of Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Brother, my King, and my Friend. They taught me of His birth, His life, His death, and His overcoming the Grave. They taught me that he as returned on many occasions, first to Mary, then His apostles, then his disciples both in the old and new worlds. And he has returned in our day as well to a young boy, calling him as a prophet.

I hardly doubted as a young boy, and rarely as an old one, that my parents knew it. I leaned on their faith for a time, as all children do, until the Holy Ghost had spoken enough to me to lean on my own faith.

My journey of faith is less linear and more difficult to write about than my journeying in the Church. But I can speak some to my beliefs, though the following is by no means comprehensive:

I believe that under the direction of the Father, Jesus Christ created the earth.

I believe that Jesus, as the God of the Old Testament, called prophets to lead His people and administer his words.

I believe that Jesus came to earth, the Son of Mary, to fulfill the laws of justice and make way for mercy.

I believe that Jesus lead a sinless life, thus the law of justice which says that the consequent of sin is death, had no hold on Him.

I believe that Jesus set up an actual organized Church, granting it His authority to act in His name.

I believe that Jesus acted vicariously for all sinners: suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, and, contrary to laws of justice, He died.

The law being broken, Jesus held the power over life and death, and rose again: immortality connected to his body.

I believe that Jesus will grant all who have lived second, resurrected life: never to be separated from our perfected bodies again. He gives this gift freely and without cost.

I believe that Jesus’s sacrifice made him an intermediary to the Father on our behalf, and we must only accept this gift to made pure and freed from our sins.

I believe that Jesus’s Church is a necessary part of accepting His atoning sacrifice.

Because of the actuality of this Church, I believe that either the Church never fell away, and is the Catholic Church, or it was lost and would need to be restored. Protestation and reformation of an organization that has lost its rights cannot work: either the Protestant Churches are heretics from God’s Catholic Church, or the Catholic Church had lost its authority and and restoration would be necessary.
I believe that His Church apostatized, and was lost. Neither the Catholic Church, nor its Protestant and reformation splinter groups have the authority to act in The name of Jesus the Christ.

I believe that, despite the loss of authority, many good Catholic, Protestant, and Reformative people lived and acted according to God’s will: making way for a restoration of Christ’s Church.

I believe that Jesus the Christ and His Holy Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith and called him to open a new dispensation of the world, and to restore Christ’s Church on the earth for the work of salvation to be continued.

I believe that despite his many flaws, Joseph did in fact work to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, including the reception of Christs authority, called the Priesthood, by the laying of hands on his head, just as has been done from the beginnings of time.

I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s own Church, restored to earth, with all the privileges, powers, and responsibilities previously established by Christ to His apostles.

I believe that the apostolic line restored to Joseph still stands, unbroken, and is headed by Thomas Monson.

I believe that God reveals truth to his prophets and apostles, as He always has. I also believe that He reveals truth to the honest seeker as well.

I believe that God wants us to be happy, and has established commandments not to restrict our happiness, but to expand it.

I believe that God allows us to be wicked, but sorrows in that wickedness because it keeps us from the happiness he desires for us.

I believe that God has established the American Continents for the growth of the righteous, but thy he will remove the unrepentant wicked from this place and put in our place those who seek Him.

I believe that God inspired and directed the Founding Fathers to build a government that ensures the greatest liberty and chance for righteousness ever known to man.

I believe that we have the responsibility to protect individual liberty and encourage personal righteousness.

So we can see that my faith and religion are inexhaustibly connected, but that my politics are dictated by my faith.

Politics:

I’ll try to avoid great detail, as I expect to do detail on future posts, but here are the foundational principles.

Unlike many of our contemporaries, I don’t mind labels. I’m a Mormon. I’m fat. I’m white. I’m handicapped. I’m daddy. I’m silly. I’m nice. I’m mean. Labels are descriptive. They don’t define me, but they do help describe me. Some may be more true than others. I’m conservative. I’m traditional. I’m libertarian. Each label has different meaning to different people, so it’s important to understand the spirit in which they are intended.

Politically, I describe myself as a conservative, libertarian constitutionalist. There was a time when the 3 labels meant mostly the same thing, but that time has passed. Another label that is accurate is liberal, though the true meaning of term is lost by the deliberate hijacking by the American Progressive movement.

So to define, which is important. I believe that ‘conservative’ values are generally correct, as they have their foundation in the Godly principles of the bible. They are currently described as Judeo-Christian values. An important thing to note is that I believe that the concept of relative morality is horse manure. Murder is wrong despite the fact that some cultures condone, accept or encourage it. It’s wrong even in those cultures, though the people of those cultures may be less accountable to the Great Judge than I am, raised with correct principles, it is still wrong. There are those who will be offended at this truth, and I am sorry to offend, but not sorry for the truth.

As a libertarian, I believe that people should have the freedom to act according to the dictates of their  own conscience, even when their conscience leads them to violate the principles and morals that I believe in.

I believe that just governments are instituted to protect the liberty of people by ensuring that one person doesn’t harm another or take their things. Thus, I am a constitutionalist. I believe that the Constitution was inspired by the Father and ensures the greatest level of liberty ever instituted by people in the whole of history. Government must protect life, liberty and property, or else it is not just.

Using these foundation principles, I dictate every aspect of my political belief. With every issue, I consult my values, consider the philosophies of wiser people, and come to conclusions with the best of my ability. Sometimes I get it wrong, and that is okay. But my political views that I will share will be founded in these principles.

Of course, I don’t expect my reader to agree with me, though I hope to make compelling arguments enough that I can at least challenge those who disagree, and give those who agree further foundation for their beliefs. I will point out areas where I have changed my mind, and areas where better arguments have caused me to change as well.